So in part one we met Jessica Jones. She's an ex-superhero in a bit of a tail spin. She drinks, she smokes, she has casual sex, and as of yet we don't know why she is such a mess or why she forsook her superhero identity "Jewel". She has super strength and can sort of fly although finds landing hard. She now works as a private detective, her agency is called Alias Investigations and she keeps finding cases that bring her back into the superhero fold. In the previous case she became an unwilling part of a convoluted attempt to bring down the President by pinning a murder on Captain America. It was all sorted out thanks to S.H.I.E.L.D and Steve Rogers came to thank her personally and told her to reconnect with Carol "Ms. Marvel" Danvers which she did at the end. So her past is still a mystery, her present a pile of self loathing, her future yet to be revealed. So lets finish Book one with another look into the world of Jessica Jones.
The story begins with Jessica and Carol "Ms. Marvel" Danvers having a meal out together and having a good laugh about their superhero looks in the past. Jessica says her costume was bad but her hair never went the "Farrah". Carol says Jessica was totally "Flashdance".
Jessica: "Fuck Jennnifer Beals and what she did to my youth. I look at some of those pictures and I say: man, was I giving off the slut signal or what?"
Carol asks her what the boy situation is these days. Jessica says in her line of work all she meets in cheaters. Jessica admits she has done "stupid stuff with guys lately". Needy and pathetic like she wouldn't believe. Carol asks if she is going out with Luke Cage.
Jessica is silent, then asks how she knew. "Grapevine" grins Carol. Jessica says she isn't going out with him. Carol says good because he is "a cape chaser" and lists all the superheroes he's shagged. Jessica is diappointed she read him so badly. Carol asks what it was like with him, Jessica says "I was hammered, I have no fucking idea". Carol says she's lying. Jessica says shes in shock from the cape chasing thing. Carol says she is going to have to find her a guy.
|Luke Cage is a man-whore!|
Later she is flirting with someone in a gay chatroom for work, she signs off ruminating that she is doing this while Carol saves the world. She lights a fag and thinks about her current case. A woman named Nancy Moss hired her, she belives her husband has gone from cybersexing behind her back to full blown actual sex. And while she didn't mind the cybersex (much to Jessica's digust) finding out her husband was gay when he left his computer signed on and she could witness messages from "BIGBLACKDICKFORU" and "TSSDSALAD" was too much.
Jessica's job is to initiate cybersex with him ask to meet in real life. "I wonder if this is the first time in the history of the internet that a guy was speaking to a girl posing as a guy?" she thinks to herself. She has him "primed and pumped". The next time she contacts him she'll set up a meeting. The wife is as "mad as hell and not going to take it anymore", she is building the most damning divorce case she can.
She goes to have a pee and freshen up and bumps into a strange teenage boy with a case. He tells her he's a big fan of hers, "all the guys at my school are into the X-Men and that tool Spider-man and shit...but I like you goin' on. I like that you ain't into the costume shit". He says he read up on her online, then watched a movie where De Niro plays a private eye and it reminded him of her.
|Jessica's teen admirer.|
Jessica sits and Jane pours out her story. He's been gone over a month, the Avengers don't answer their door, they've been married six months and met at one of his shows, "the voice of an angel, he has, I meant it - an angel". But he got caught up in superhero shit which stopped hm going the whole way.
Apparently he stopped the Kree-Skrull war all by himself. He ran with the superheroes but she never met any, the Avengers have tight security, he'd always come home and tell her the stories. She found the "perfect man" but had to share him with the world everyonce in a while. She feels sick not knowing where he is. He also spoke highly of Jessica.
Jessica then breaks the news that she isn't related to her husband. She never met him. Bewildered Jane says Rick talked about her all the time, "he really admires you". Jane fumbles with some cash. Jessica tells her to put it away and give her contact details and she'll look into it. Jane thanks her.
Sitting on the toilet Jessica does some thinking. She did her quickie check that Jane was for real and she is, married to Rick Jones. She mulls over who she could ask for help and comes up empty. She's really confused about supposedly being related to him.
|The glam life of a PI.|
Later she is outside reading the book when a young woman comes up and asks what powers she has. Jessica wants to knowwhy she'd ask that. The woman says her power is detecting who has powers, she says she's a mutant but her friends don't believe her. One of her friends comes up and sees the book she is reading and calls her "a fuckin' Jones groupie".
Jessica asks if he knows him, the young man says "fucker doesn't shut up!! Well, he shuts up when he's fucking every girl in New York City..." Jessica say so he's talked to him, the young man says Rick Jones talks at you. He might pay for food but doesn't shut up about the Kree-Skrull war and hanging out with Hulk and Captain Marvel, yet can't write "just one decent fucking song".
She then revisits the club when it is open and Rick Jones appears on stage and starts a song which he dedicates to his friend "Bruce". Later Jessican approaches him backstage. He grabs his guitar case and uses it as a barrier between them and aggressively asks:
Rick: "Who are you with, the Kree or the Skrull? WHO SENT YOU TO FUCK UP MY LIFE AGAIN!?!?!"
She grabs his arm and tells her that her name is Jessica Jones and she is neither Kree nor Skrull "so.. calm.. the.. fuck... down". She tells him that his wife hired her to find him, she's worried about him.
She wants to know why he didn't go home. He says he can't because of the Kree Skrull fucking his shit up. She wants to know why he told his wife they were related. Rick doesn't know why she said that, he never said he and Jessica were related. He says his wife is so whacked she concocts "theories with no foundation". So she made it up.
As they sneak out of the venue, he goes onto say he "married a lunatic". But he loves her. Jessica asks him to come with him to see her, but suddenly there is a boom and he ducks into an alleyway. It was just a car backfiring. She catches up with him and he asks her what she knows about the Kree-Skrull war. She says she read it in his book.
|Reasons to fear.|
"War crimes" queries Jessica and she rips the fence apart. Rick tries to explain himself, he did nothing but:
Rick: "I just.. I got heroic for a second and I ended the thing. So now the governments want a little under-the-table payback. Like no little human pisher's going to fuck up their chances of dominance. You think those kinds of heroics or whatever go unanswered? They do not. So now my life is fucked again!"
Jessica wants to know why he still performs at the club, he says he lost everything but he needs to get on stage and strum a guitar. She asks why he didn't ask the Avengers for help. After some prodding from her he admits Captain America is pissed at him. He is angry about the book and Rick doesn't want to bother him.
Jessica says they could talk to Reed Richards, so he agrees to go to the Baxter Building with her. They arrive at reception to be greeted by a robot receptionist. She says access to Dr. Richards is by appointment only. When they try and tell her what the problem is the receptionist tells them she won't be making an appointment for them and to "have a nice day".
|No help from the Fantastic Four.|
Jessica finally gets through to the Avengers Emergency Hotline, she leaves a rambling message saying she was hired to find Rick Jones and found him and he's in trouble with the Skrulls, he's running scared and even though he's fallen out with Captain America his life is in danger and "that's more important than whatever thing he is goibg through with you guys".
She leaves her number and asks if she can please be told what's going on. She is back in her office and knackered, she check her internet and her gay honeytrap worked the man wants to meet her in Starbucks wearing a rollneck sweater, "how incredibly uninteresting on every level". She checks her mail then slumps forwards asleep.
She wakes up to find her teenage admirer fielding a phonecall. She grabs the phone off him and speaks to Jarvis the Avengers butler. He is calling on behalf of Captain America regarding her call:
Jarvis: "Now this Rick Jones... this was here in New York City? Well ma'am, I'm sorry to tell you that the gentleman you found is not Rick Jones. Rick Jones is safe and sound in Los Angeles".
He goes on to say they are aware of the fake Rick Jones running round the West Village. If she has anymore trouble with him let them know and they'll have "the proper authorities deal with him".
|Jessica finally gets some answers.|
She goes and sits in a Starbucks. A bearded man sits next to her. She asks him what he does and he says he a psychotherapist. She asks him about meeting a man who has everyone convinced he's another famous guy. There are huge holes in his story and the more you look at it the less convincing he is, yet "everyone buys it".
"Pseudologica Fantastica" says the psychotherapist. A person starts out with small lies and the ie gets "bigger and grander and more outrageous". The interesting twist is the bigger and more fantastical the lie the more innocent peple believe. Why do they believe asks Jessica. "They just want to. People...they're desperate for excitement. They want to know famous people".
Psychotherapist: "This is the world we live in... movie stars, rock stars, the Fantastic Four, mutant envy..."
"Mutant Envy?" says an incredulous Jessica. "It's just not enough for some people just to be...people" says the Psychotherapist.
|Putting it in persepctive.|
Jessica: "Go home to your wife, and come out of the closet. She loves you and you're hurting her. She deserves better than what you're doing to her".
He looks at her with terrified alarm, gathers his coat and flees the shop. She then flashes back to her night waiting with Rick for the Baxter building to open. She told him his book really got to her. She especially identified with him talking about having physical reaction to people in costumes, she realised her body was screaming at her not to be around the costumed people, "...my body would freak out and say 'don't be here. This isn't where regular people should be'"
Jessica: "'The peasants want the kings to come down and play...' fuck."
This is a interesting story, it's basically a series of conversations about truth, lies, reality and fantasy. Opening the story with a several page meal and chat between Carol and Jessica was a great way to set that stall out from the start. It was also nice to see the somewhat troubled Jessica smiling and having a good time. What's fascinating is how we're getting a look at the sort of class system the hero class has bought to America, even more untouchable and unreachable than celebrities, for a street level hero like Jessica getting any kind of respect seems difficult despite her having connections within the Avengers. The rest of the story is a dissection of the cult of celebrity and how people will cling to a scrap of it. Even Jessica is fooled as her final flashback shows. The story structure is also strong with the luring out of the gay husband paying of brilliantly at the end. Some people will bemoan the lack of action in this story but I'm more interested in it as a character and world building exercise. I like Bendis's dialogue and I like Gaydos's art and how well they mesh. Look out for volume 2 next month.